The future is Atome Atome Financial’s success in its key market—Southeast Asia’s 600 million-strong population—is a testament to its Advance.ai engine. With many parts of Southeast Asia either largely unbanked or underbanked, the region has one of the lowest credit card penetration rates—only 1 in 10 people own a credit card.
This means that the availability and accuracy of data, which BNPL companies rely on, is scarce, unreliable, or even non-existent. This is where Advance.ai’s ability to determine creditworthiness comes in. Advance Intelligence further bolstered its ability to assess which users were deserving of credit by launching Ginee, an e-commerce enabler for merchants.
The creditworthiness of a company can be determined by Advance.ai in this instance.
“It’s just one whole virtuous loop. Each time someone borrows credit through Kredit Pintar or Atome, or a customer or merchant uses Ginee, all the data collected fits into Advance.ai’s credit engine and helps them further refine their lending ability,” the unnamed investor added.
A digital economy Southeast Asia’s internet penetration rate has risen to 75% as 40 million new internet users came online in 2021, according to the e-Conomy SEA 2021 report. This provides a great opportunity for tech companies to set foot into Having built a reliable foundation for its consumer-facing businesses, Advance Intelligence, and its investors are betting big on the BNPL business to deliver.
BNPL companies are not banks, so they aren’t required to report the loans they make to credit bureaus.
The Group plans to fuel the growth of its BNPL and digital lending presence across Asia with the capital from its Series D round. But the most exciting thing to look forward to is the StanChart deal. A 10-year partnership will enable Atome to grow and connect to a wider ecosystem of merchants, drastically increasing its customer base.
However, big-ticket deals such as this, as well as cashback and rewards specialist ShopBack’s acquisition of Singaporean BNPL company hookah are also putting the sector on the radar of regulators. Since BNPL companies aren’t banks, they aren’t mandated to report the loans they disburse to credit bureaus. And while this undoubtedly makes access to credit easy, there’s a worry they make it too easy, leading users to take on unsustainable or unhealthy levels of debt.